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Boiler Room Festival
Photograph: Boiler Room

Things to do in London this weekend

Can’t decide what to do with your two days off? This is what you should make time for

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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If you haven’t put together your topical costume by now (HMS Ever Given? Jackie Weaver? Mrs Grealish 69?) then you best get cracking this weekend, because Halloween is only a fortnight away. And since last year’s celebrations were a write-off, you’ll be pleased to know that this year’s have started in earnest already. Make the most of scary szn with some of the early activities this weekend, including Cabaret Sauvignon’s raucous #Hallowine special.  

Or if it’s something arty you’re after this weekend, you’re spoilt for choice. Head to the Tate Modern to see Anicka Yi’s squid-like robots bobbing about above you, accompanied by a lovely-smelling ‘scentscape’, catch the Sistine Chapel in North London (sort of) or rub shoulders with independent artists and the art world’s elites at The Other Art Fair and Frieze London, both of which return this week. 

There’s also plenty of live music to enjoy at the second edition of Boiler Room Festival, while the 65th London Film Fest wraps up with a final weekend of screenings and immersive experiences. 

Check out that, and plenty more, in our roundup of the best things to see, eat, drink and do in London this weekend. Mrs Grealish 69 can wait til next week.

RECOMMENDED: Our comprehensive guide to things to do in London

What’s on this weekend?

  • Art
  • Bankside

A squadron of flying alien machines has invaded Tate Modern. They are Anicka Yi’s robo-army, sent from the future to make us consider what it would be like to share our world with machine intelligences. Powered by mini rotors, they float through the Turbine Hall’s vast space, governed by complex algorithms that dictate their flightpaths. Accompanying them is a ‘scentscape’ meant to evoke different historical eras of the Thames riverbank, which smells so nice that it’s like wandering around an enormous branch of Aesop. It all feels a little bit like balloon animals in a perfume shop, but it’s fun and utopian. And at least the robots are friendly. 

Jodie Comer is mesmerising as smart, courageous noblewoman Lady Marguerite de Carrouges in Ridley Scott’s bleak, wintry retelling of a real historical episode in fourteenth-century Normany. Her rape at the hands of scheming Jacques LeGris (Adam Driver) leads her husband, lunkish warrior Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), to challenge him to France’s last officially sanctioned duel. Rendered in wintry blues and greys by cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, it’s a typically impressive feat of world-building from Scott full of imposing castles and lovely swashes of countryside. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of NopiOttolenghi’s first London restaurant proper, the team has put together a rather special collaborative menu that’ll be available from October 17 until the end of the month. It has been developed by Yotam Ottolenghi and a bunch of Nopi alumni, such as kitchen superstars Sami Tamimi, Ramael Scully, Carlos Capparelli and Nicole Pisani – chefs who have helped shape the legendary restaurant into what it is today.

 

RECOMMENDED: find more Middle Eastern eats with our restaurant guide.

Catch the final weekend of screenings at London Film Festival 2021
  • Film

The biggest, brightest and best event in the capital’s film-going calendar wraps on Sunday, but not before a jam-packed weekend of screenings and events to round things off. Tickets are still available for a bunch of them, too, from ‘King Richard’, a biopic of Venus and Serena Williams’ father starring Will Smith, to Stephen Graham’s starring role in kitchen drama ‘Boiling Point’ and award-winning production company Darkfield’s immersive experience ‘Eulogy’, which takes place in complete darkness.

RECOMMENDED: The 25 best cinemas in London

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As you’re probably aware, October is Black History Month: a run of weeks dedicated to celebrating the vibrant lives, histories and cultures of Black people in the UK. Of course, learning about Black history shouldn’t be something we do for just one month a year. But the annual initiative does make October a great reminder to head to Black-led cultural events, and London is stuffed with them. This weekend, head to Black Owned Hackney Market at Bohemia Place, catch one of the last perfomances of the Globe's Black-lead Romeo and Juliet.

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • South Bank

This banging little production by four actors, two directors and the theatre’s first three writers-in-residence since Big Will Himself himself is a real treat, blowing away the cobwebs and reminding you how fresh, sparky and - well - live, live theatre can be. The writers – Sami Ibrahim, Laura Lomas and Sabrina Mahfou – have ripped up and remade a suite of ancient Greek myths, most famously collected as an epic saga 2,000 years ago by the Roman poet, Ovid. It’s brilliant: haunting, surprising, stirring, shared – and a lot of fun. Give a big hand for the return of theatre as it should be; alive and kicking.

RECOMMENDED: The best new theatre shows in London this October

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • London

It might be nearly a century since the Bloomsbury Set were gallivanting around WC1 but the area still packs plenty of creative heft, as demonstrated by this ten-day festival. This year it boasts over 100 events around the theme of ‘Shining Light’. Highlights of the programme include Store Street Feast, a street party amongst the independent shops of Store Street, Senate House’s drop-in Discovery Sessions, which feature loads of free workshops and interactive exhibitions, and ‘Lights, Banners, Tigers’, an exhibition of neon light sculptures dotted around Cromer Street, by artist Chila Kumari Burman (who did the Tate Britain display you probably saw on Instagram last winter.) Check out the full programme of free fun here

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Munichs official Bavarian beer-fest might be cancelled once more this year, but who really cares when there are so many chances to don your dirndl or lark about in your lederhosen here in London? Ready to drink your weight in pilsner and soak it all up with a formidably large wurst before rocking out to an oompah band? Head to one of these Oktoberfest hangouts around the city for a stein-sloshing good time. Prost! Zum wohl!

RECOMMENDED: Check out London’s best craft beer bars and pubs.

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  • Art
  • Art

Us Londoners are already spoiled when it comes to art, but things just got even better with the arrival of one of the greatest artworks in the world. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel has arrived in London, thanks to some clever technology from the boffins at LA’s SEE Global Entertainment company. The infamous ceiling paintings have been reproduced using licensed high-definition photos of the originals and a special photo printing technique that makes the results look and feel as if they’ve come straight from the Renaissance polymath’s hand. Just like visiting the real thing, but without all the annoyance of flying out to Vatican City. 

RECOMMENDED: Soak up more works of art at this immersive Van Gogh exhibition

  • Theatre
  • Theatre & Performance

The mind-expanding Dance Umbrella festival was forced to go digital last year, but for 2021 it’s back IRL (plus a few digi bits for old times sake). Dance Umbrella is London’s boldest, brightest, most accessible festival of dance. Check out our roundup of the five best shows to catch this year, and grab those tickets while you still can!

RECOMMENDED: The best theatre shows in London 2021 and 2022.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • South Bank

On the 35th anniversary of the play’s explosive UK premiere, Dominic Cooke revives Larry Kramer’s drama about Ned Weeks, a gay New York writer struggling to raise awareness of AIDS during the early days of the epidemic. An impressive ensemble led by Ben Daniels, Liz Carr, Daniel Monks and Danny Lee Wynter star in the National Theatre production, whose original dates in the spring were scuppered by that pesky Kent variant. We reckon it’ll prove worth the wait!

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Covent Garden

Breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! has collabed with Fujifilm on this special exhibition to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Shot using a Fujifilm medium format camera, photographer Kristina Varaksinas gorgeous, detailed nudes celebrate the dimples, creases, folds and curves of her subjects. But the exhibition also functions as a nifty reminder of how to check in with your body and spot early signs of breast cancer, with all sorts of advice and merch available to encourage visitors to regularly cop a feel. Its not just pretty pictures; it could actually help save somebodys life too!

 

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  • Art
  • Art

Works by modern art giants such as Anthony Caro and Isamu Noguchi sit alongside pieces from newer artists like Annie Morris, Vanessa da Silva and Rasheed Araeen at this colourful outdoor sculpture exhibition in the English Garden at Regent’s Park. Power structures, displacement and the environment are some of the themes explored in the suitably huge artworks, which have once again been curated once again by Yorkshire Sculpture Park programmer Claire Lilley. 

When is it? Until Oct 31. Where is it? Regent’s Park. Find out more here

RECOMMENDED: The top 20 public sculptures in London.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • Farringdon

When it comes to the post-club afters, there’s late, and then there’s really late. So late that it’s technically early. Sylvester, the new after-hours party from the team behind raucous queer techno night Adonis, is most certainly the latter. Starting this weekend, resident DJs including Wes Baggaley and Grace Sands will be taking over Rooms 2 and 3 at fabric every Sunday morning from 7am, spinning techno, house, Italo and disco bangers all the way through until 3pm on Sunday afternoon. One for the straight-through crew!

RECOMMENDED: read our love letter to Londons LGBTQ+ venues

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  • Art
  • New Cross

Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn was making lockdown art long before Covid made it cool. Travel, communication, life in general, all were tightly, suffocatingly controlled during the years in which he lived under Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. So he turned to airmail. Using huge sheets of paper and fabric that could be folded down into envelopes, Dittborn created works that obsess over and explore ideas of movement, oppression and freedom. And by folding his paintings and sending them around the world, he gave his ideas freedoms that his subjects were never afforded. It’s artistic rebellion in the truest sense of the word.

WTTDLondon

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